Providence closed it's home out of conference schedule with a 79-59 win over Maine. The win improves the Friars' record to 10-2 and PC is now 48-1 since 2011-12 in non-conference home games.

The Providence College Friars cruised past the Maine Black Bears 79-59, to secure their tenth win of this young season.  Junior transfer Emmitt Holt led the charge with his second career double-double, posting a game high 18 points, along with 10 rebounds and an assist.  PC is now an astounding 48-1 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center against non-conference opponents, dating back to the 2011-12 season.

Distribution and Balance

There was no need for Coach Ed Cooley to intervene with an early timeout tonight as PC got off to a commanding start against the overmatched Black Bears.  Flaunting his high level of confidence and newly acquired offensive prowess, Jalen Lindsey set the tone, as he buried a three-pointer just thirteen seconds into the contest. Maine’s impressive freshman, Andrew Flemming, countered with a layup one minute later, to cut their deficit to 3-2.  To Providence’s delight, that was the closest Maine was able to get.

In an effort to mimic their unforgettable 31-0 scoring run against Wagner College this past weekend, PC jumped out to a 14-2 lead heading into the first commercial break.  Largely due in part to Kyron Cartwright’s lightening quick transition offense and spatial awareness, the Friars capitalized on the veteran’s decision making and passing.  Assisting on four of PC’s first five buckets, Cartwright was able to spread the ball and get everyone involved.  After hooking up with Lindsey to start things off, he dished to Isaiah Jackson, who buried a three, found Holt (who dominated in the paint all night) for a lay-in and initiated a three-on-one breakaway alley-oop, featuring freshman guard Maliek White.  It was a charitable start to Kyron’s night, to say the least.   

Hey Bob, Welcome Back!

A pillar of Tim Welsh’s coaching staff for seven years at PC, Bob Walsh returned to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, but this time representing the opposing bench.  No stranger to this side of town, Walsh took the Maine job after nine seasons as the Head Coach of the Rhode Island College Anchormen.  Under Walsh’s tutelage, RIC qualified for nine consecutive NCAA Division-III tournament appearances while posting a noteworthy overall record of 204-63.  Needless to say, Coach Walsh’s return to the Division-I ranks was well deserved.

Oddly enough, Walsh witnessed Maine’s sole defeat of the Friars.  Back on November 21, 2000, the Black Bears topped the Friars 80-71.  Since then the Friars have faced Maine six times, defeating their American East Conference foes each time.  PC now holds a 12-1 all-time series advantage.

Coach Walsh has done a fantastic job recruiting, as Maine aims to make some noise in America East Conference play.  Walsh landed a talented freshman in Andrew Fleming, a Maine native.  At 6’7, 222 lbs., Fleming possesses an ideal Division-I frame accompanied by an able mid-range jump shot.  The freshman posted his first career double-double with 12 points 11 boards, 2 assists and a steal.  In addition to Fleming, the Black Bears have a go-to guard in Wes Meyers, a junior transfer from Niagara.  Leading the team in scoring with 14.7 ppg, it’s hard to believe that Meyers comes off the bench as a rotation guy.  Posting 13 points, Meyers led all Maine guards with 25 minutes of action.  With the pieces falling into place, Maine very well could make a run at their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance by surprising in their conference.

The Hot Hand

Although not a bad problem to have, PC is blessed with two talented combo-forwards, who constantly battle for minutes.  Who will earn their spot in the rotation; Ryan Fazekas or Isaiah Jackson?  Ed Cooley and his staff are tasked with deciphering that predicament more often than not.  Fazekas is a gifted shooter.  When left open, it’s highly unlikely he will miss and even if he does, it still looks pretty.  When hot, Ryan is able to spread opposing defenses, lending opportunities to his teammates to make plays.  On the other hand, Jackson, the junior transfer from George Mason, fits the “pass-first” mold.  He is physical, fights for 50-50 balls and has shown flashes of brilliant passing.

Ryan earned his minutes tonight, as he notched his season high of 12 points while burying four three-pointers.  Heavily involved in high-to-low and low-to-high ball movement, Fazekas played a major part in PC’s offensive efficiency in the first half.  He carried himself confidently on the court and played with a chip on his shoulder.  Although he logged just three more minutes than Jackson, I believe that this was a statement game for Fazekas.  Just one non-conference game removed from Big East play, Ryan’s hot hand is nothing but good news for the Black and White.

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The Friars (10-2, 0-1 away) visit the Boston College Eagles (6-6, 5-3 home) at Conte Forum on Friday, December 23rd at 4:00 PM.  It will be the 111th meeting between the two long-time rivals.  The Friars hold a 60-50 series advantage.  The Friars have faced only two programs more times than Boston College; the University of Rhode Island and Brown University, respectively.

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